After bribing a few prison guards, An Xiao Er was able to get in touch with Hua Zhu Yu. Thinking it through carefully, she felt in the end that it was best not to act rashly and break out of prison. It was far too risky. Nie Cheng Yuan was within the grounds of the Imperial Palace, and it was heavily guarded as well. Escaping wasn’t going to be easy. Moreover, if she were to leave just like that, not only would she be divulging her high martial skills, but she would also be implicating Huangfu Wu Shuang. As his personal eunuch, her each and every move affected him. Not to mention, his trial was reaching a crucial period.
Hua Zhu Yu must endure patiently.
The shabby prison meals, the dreary darkness, even the putrid smell, she must bear with.
But fortunately, after the incident with Zhao Si, the other prison guards were discreet in their conduct, no longer daring to wantonly stare at her.
Though there were certain things she could tolerate, there were some that she couldn’t. For instance, the arrival of that time of month.
She had her first period two years ago. Because she was a general at the time, she had her own personal camp. This gave her the privacy to deal with it easily. After entering the palace and becoming an eunuch, she didn’t have any issues dealing with it either since she had a lot of freedom. But now that she was imprisoned in this cell, what was she to do?
An Xiao Er wasn’t aware of her female identity, there’s no way she could ask him to go buy those things. Unless she was left with no other choice, she didn’t want to reveal herself. Moreover, how could she use those things in this cell? An eunuch using feminine products would be like broadcasting to the world that she was female.
Hua Zhu Yu was frustrated to death! Compared to her period, her present wounds were trifling, for they would eventually stop bleeding. That night, she was lamenting, going crazy thinking about what she should do when the cell door suddenly opened. At the entrance stood a silhouette of a man.
Composing herself, she narrowed her eyes and saw that it was Lan Bing who had come. Within the dark cell, she could make out his blue robes and elegant self as he looked at her with eyes twinkling with mirth.
She didn’t have a good impression of him from the start simply because he was one of Ji Feng Li’s men. Moreover, he always had on that meaningful smile on his face whenever he saw her. It was already the middle of the night, why had he come?
“Have you gotten used to this place yet, Bao gong gong?” Lan Bing smiled and walked in.
She knew it was unlikely he had any good intentions. The corners of her lips hooked up as she said, “How could I not, this servant even feels this place is quite relaxing. It’s a great place to avoid the summer heat. If Lan daren feels it’s too hot out there you can also come stay here!”
This was a prison, how could anyone get used to it? It reeked of a musty odor and the food was pitiful. It was clear that Lan Bing had come to ridicule her but she won’’t give him the opportunity.
Lan Bing smiled and swept his gaze around the cell. Holding his chin, he exclaimed, “You’re right, this place isn’t bad! I’d also like to stay here, but regretfully I don’t have that fortune.” He shrugged his shoulders and continued, “But I’m afraid Bao gong gong can’t remain here any longer either.”
Startled, she wondered if Lan Bing had come to send her off to Western Paradise (heaven). Furrowing her brows, she gave off a cold aura. She knew that Ji Feng Li wasn’t one to take unnecessary actions. Did he send Lan Bing here to get rid of her? If so, she must escape tonight.
“Lan daren, you’re not planning on letting me become a starving ghost are you? Is Left Chancellor so stingy as to not even allow me one last meal?” She calmly asked him, all the while stealthily employing her internal force so that she could break free of her chains at any moment.
Lan Bing narrowed his eyes and said, “Bao gong gong misunderstood, I came this time not to send you off, but to escort you to the Chancellor’s Residence. Guards, come unlock the chains for Bao gong gong!” A prison guard came in with the keys and removed the chains binding her.
Hua Zhu Yu was shocked. He wants to escort her to the Chancellor’s Residence? What scheme was Ji Feng Li plotting? Is he already that powerful to be able to set a prisoner of Nie Cheng Yuan free? If that’s the case, Huangfu Wu Shuang really had no hope left.
“Lan daren truly knows how to jest. I’m a prisoner, how can I just go to the Chancellor’s Residence. If His majesty were to find out, that’s wouldn’t be good,” she calmly replied.
“Bao gong gong doesn’t need to worry. If the Left Chancellor has the ability to set you free, he naturally will have the power to not be criticized. In the future, you’ll no longer be Bao gong gong but a guard of the Chancellor’s Residence,” Lan Bing replied matter-of-factly.
Furrowing her brows, she realized it was impossible for her to not leave this place tonight. But to go the the Chancellor’s Residence and be his guard? She truly didn’t understand what Ji Feng Li was planning at all. But if she were to remain in prison, she wouldn’t have the chance to fight Ji Feng Li. If she were to become his guard, she would have the opportunity to stab him in the back at anytime. If one didn’t enter the tiger’s den, how can one catch the tiger cub? She had no other choice.
Using the wall to steady herself, she stood up but felt a sudden heat in her lower body. She lamented in her heart. She almost forgot about her period. Clamping her legs together, she slowly walked out.
Passing by Huangfu Wu Shuang’s cell, she could not make out a single sound inside. A few days earlier, she heard from An Xiao Er that Ji Feng Li had not tortured Huangfu Wu Shuang and the latter did not confess to anything either. But all the evidence pointed to him, so there was no way to overturn this case. Perhaps he will spend the rest of his life in this prison. But currently the old emperor was ill and Kang Wang held power, how could Huangfu Wu Shuang remain in this prison safe and sound?
“If this servant is not wrong, Kang Wang will be succeeding the throne soon. This servant just doesn’t know what will happen to His Highness Wu Shuang?” asked Hua Zhu Yu.
Leading the way, Lan Bing turned around with a smile and said, “I had said Bao gong gong was clever. First, Kang Wang will be succeeding the throne and Lord Chancellor will assist him. Bao gong gong, a wise bird knows which branch to perch! As for His Highness Wu Shuang, everything will be handled according to His Majesty’s decision.”
“Lan daren thinks this servant is a wise bird?” she asked with a faint smile.
“It doesn’t concern me. As long as Lord Chancellor thinks you are, then you are. That’s right, you also don’t have to keep referring to yourself as a servant anymore. It’s really hard to listen to,” Lan Bing said as he continued to walk up ahead.
“Lan daren truly knows how to jest, even if I leave the Crown Prince, leave the palace and become a guard of the Chancellor’s Residence, it cannot change the fact that I’m an eunuch!”
Lan Bing was silent and did not say anything further. He only sighed deeply and continued to walking forward. Zhou Quan came to send them off.
Outside Nei Cheng Yuan, a horse carriage was waiting and Lan Bing signaled for Hua Zhu Yu to get on.
The carriage traveled along a secluded road and left the palace without any trouble. When they arrived at an intersection in Yu City, she lifted the carriage curtains and looked outside.
Since returning from the Qing Jiang Palace, she was immediately imprisoned in Nei Cheng Yuan. It’s been a long time since she’s seen the streets of Yu City. It was still a bustling scene as before. Though things have remained the same, people have changed.
Passing by a market, Hua Zhu Yu spotted a clothing shop in the far back and quickly said, “Lan daren, I’d like to change out of this prison uniform. Would it be alright if I go buy a set of new clothes? If I were to enter the Chancellor Residence wearing this, it would be disrespectful to the Chancellor.”
His gaze swept over Hua Zhu Yu’s clothes and he furrowed his brows, saying, “The Chancellor Residence isn’t lacking in clothes, there’s no need to go buy them. Once we return to the residence, you can change then! Who knows if you’ll use this opportunity to run away or not.”
Hua Zhu Yu forced a smile and said, “Lan daren, in regards to the previous matters, I was the one in the wrong, but wasn’t everyone just doing things for their respective masters? Now that my master is the Left Chancellor, how can I run away? If you want, you can assign someone to follow me inside. How can I have the ability the escape your eyes? I just don’t want to enter the Chancellor Residence wearing this uniform, it’s inauspicious.”
Lan Bing furrowed his brows and said, “You want to go buy clothes? Then do you have any money?” Hua Zhu Yu felt somewhat embarrassed, she truly didn’t have a single coin on her body. There was no need for money when she was Huangfu Wu Shuang’s eunuch and then when she was in prison there was no money when she needed it.
Seeing her embarrassed expression, Lan Bing fished out two silver coins and tossed it in her hand, saying, “Hurry and buy what you need. If the Lord Chancellor returns and doesn’t see us, I’ll be the one punished. So hurry up!”